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Homeland Security in Small Law Enforcement Jurisdictions: Preparedness, Efficacy, and Proximity to Big-City Peers

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2012
111 pages
This report discusses the need for law enforcement agencies in small jurisdictions to develop a coordinated approach to all types of emergencies that could affect homeland security.
As a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, local law enforcement agencies have been working to upgrade their capacity to respond to incidents that could negatively impact homeland security. Most of the attention on these efforts has focused on law enforcement agencies from large, metropolitan areas. The focus of this is report is to address the need for law enforcement agencies from small jurisdictions to develop a coordinated approach to address any type of emergency that could affect homeland security. The approach should focus on increasing prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery efforts for a broad range of critical events that could occur in these jurisdictions. The thought from previous research was that many of the agencies in these smaller jurisdictions were not as prepared and fully funded due to their proximity to larger, better funded jurisdictions. To assess whether this was true, a survey of small municipal agencies (employing 25 or fewer full-time sworn officers) was conducted. Respondents were asked to report on the following: assessments of the risk the jurisdiction would experience terrorist or non-terrorist homeland security incidents, preparedness measures taken by the agency, perceived efficacy of the agency's response capacity across various domains, and the level of interactions between respondents and the nearest large municipal agency. The results of the survey show that agencies that perceived a greater risk of experiencing terrorism-related events reported greater levels of preparedness. Other factors that increased the level of preparedness of an agency included the degree of attention paid to respected peers and trends in policing, and the level of interactions the agency's had with their closest large agency peer. Study limitations and implications for future research are discussed. Tables, figures, references, and appendixes

Date Published: March 1, 2012